But wearing VFF's is not something that I was able to quickly transition into. While I can't speak for everyone, I know that for me the transition from thick soled shoes to VFF's was slow and oftentimes painful. If you are considering the use of VFF's there are a number of things you need to be aware of up front.
Previous to running with a pair of VFF's I had pretty much always run using a heel first landing, absorbing much of the impact in the shoe cushioning. But VFF's have no cushioning. So a heel strike gets really old, really fast; it hurts. So I started trying to land on my toes, and that was good; for about 1/2 mile. At that point my calves rebelled. I now run with more of a mid foot strike and that seems to be the best compromise for me.
Until I have warmed up well, several miles into a run, I have to be really careful with my calves. They never cramped before I started wearing VFF's. They have dropped me in my tracks a number of times since. A calf cramp is nothing to laugh about, believe me. And they seem to take a couple of weeks to recover from. Stretch your calves well both before and after running, and occasionally during the day. And try to relax your calves as you run, at least for the first few miles. That seems to help a lot.
Calluses are another thing that surprised me. I get them now on the ends of toes as well as on the end of my foot just behind the big toes and their immediate partner. Learning how to keep the calluses there softened up makes using the shoes more comfortable.
Fit is really important for VFF's. I would highly recommend that you buy them from a store with knowledgeable sales folks and a good return policy. If they do not fit good, you will not be able to wear them for long. But get a good fit and they are actually fairly comfortable.
One of the points touted for barefoot running, or minimalist shoes is that ultimately they help to prevent running injuries. I don't know how long it takes to get to that point though. I have run 600-700 miles in them over the past year and haven't noticed any less injury. And have actually had more because of my calves.
Injini Toe Socks
Given all the issues, at least for me, with wearing VFF's, why do I continue to wear them? Because in spite of issues with calluses, calf cramps and rocks on the roadway, I like the shoes. I recently tried going back to regular shoes for a month or so and it was like running with ankle weights on. The VFF's are very light weight and, so long as I exercise a bit of caution, have become much more pleasant to run it. I would recommend them to anyone who is willing to endure the long transition that is required from standard running shoes. Just be sure to do it slowly.